— The Erimtan Angle —

Over the past weekend, Afghanistan has witnessed a violent scene all too common in the U.S. – a lone gunman killing innocents for no apparent reason: ‘The U.S. Army soldier suspected of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan is from Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. The military’s Stars and Stripes Newspaper called it “the most troubled base in the military” in 2010. (12 March 2012)’.

The Voice of America reports that in ‘Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier has been detained after shooting Afghan civilians Sunday [, 11 March]. Afghan officials report at least 16 dead. Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, could offer only a few details about the shooting that took place in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar Province’.[1]  Jacobson went on the record to declare the following: “What we know so far is that, in the very early morning hours of this morning, under the hours of darkness, a U.S. soldier left a forward operating base in the Panjwai area in the west of Kandahar. He went into the nearby village and shot innocent civilians under circumstances which still have to be investigated, then returned to the base and handed himself in, and he is in U.S. custody at the moment”.[2]  Just the other day, another shooting also occurred . . . in Pittsburgh: a ‘candlelight vigil was held Sunday evening [, 11 March] for the young man killed in last Thursday’s shooting at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland [, Pittsburgh, PA]. Dozens gathered to remember 25-year-old Michael Schaab outside the Old Route 66 Grille, which is the restaurant his family operates in Greensburg’.[3]  These two incidents are obviously unrelated, but would seem to some kind of an underlying pattern, irrespective of the huge differences. But such violent incidents involving fire weapons do occur frequently across the U.S. The most prominent case of recent memory  has undoubtedly been the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford last year.

The main difference is constituted by the fact that the shooting in Afghanistan was perpetrated by a soldier, an individual whose job it is to kill enemies, albeit normally in a combat situation . . . but last Sunday, it seems that one of these soldiers lost his marbles and went on a random shooting spree . . . Andrew Wilder, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says insightfully that “Afghans are very ambivalent about the presence of international forces in Afghanistan. I think primarily because they are not perceived to have brought security that is probably the biggest cause of resentment. However, they also fear the rapid withdraw of international forces as they fear that would be very destabilizing. So even despite these kinds of incidents rightfully anger Afghans, I don’t think that necessarily translates to the majority of Afghans wanting international forces rushing to the exits”.[4]  Could Wilder really be right???  It would seem that the Taliban as well as the general population are at the moment playing nothing but a waiting game, exercising patience until the last foreign occupier has left the Hindu Kush. But the presence of permanent U.S. bases in these mountainous regions turns their best hopes into delusory expectations at best.[5]


[1] “US Soldier Held for Shooting Afghan Civilians” VOA (11 March 2012). http://www.voanews.com/english/news/US-Soldier-Held-for-Shooting-Afghan-Civilians-142251045.html.

[2] “US Soldier Held for Shooting Afghan Civilians”.

[3] “Western Psych Shooting Victim Remembered At Candlelight Vigil” CBS Pittsburgh (11 March 2011). http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/03/11/western-psych-shooting-victim-remembered-at-candlelight-vigil/.

[4] “US Soldier Held for Shooting Afghan Civilians”.

[5] Cfr. “Ten Years in Afghanistan: Central Asia Blues or Building Bases” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (09 October 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/ten-years-in-afghanistan-central-asia-blues-or-building-bases/.


Comments on: "The Afghan Shooting Spree" (1)

  1. Promotional Products said:

    Thanks for that awesome posting. 🙂

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